New York Islanders Mathew Barzal Needs Strong 2017 Training Camp

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: Mathew Barzal
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: Mathew Barzal

The New York Islanders Mathew Barzal is very close to starting his NHL career. So close, he can probably taste it. Having said that, Barzal needs a strong camp to make the Isles.

The last two years the New York Islanders, Mathew Barzal has had excellent training camps. Both as a teenager no less. Last year the Isles top prospect made the opening-night roster. However, then-coach Jack Capuano never gave Barzal a fair shot, as he only appeared in two games.

Barzal’s professional hockey career could begin now.

Barzal has to enter camp with something to prove. He must show the Islanders brass that they have no choice but to put him on the opening-night roster.

Barzal’s game includes high-skilled offense, a force on the power-play, and the cherry on top of the sundae is he makes everyone around him better. This Isles team could certainly use some more weapons with the extra man, as they finished a dismal 28th in the league last season.

By his own admission, Barzal said he was “star struck” last year. He must show Doug Weight and Garth Snow that he is ready for the NHL both mentally and physically.

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The Numbers

Even with Shane Prince being sidelined the next four to six months the Isles have a lot of forwards on the roster. With the signing of Stephen Gionta, the Isles have 14 forwards not counting Barzal.

Barzal will have to leave no doubt this training camp given the number of forwards on the roster. There could always be an injury or two, but Barzal can’t sneak through the door is have to blow it open.

Phone Call Away

The good news for Barzal and the Isles is if he doesn’t make the opening-night roster he does not have to be sent back to juniors and be lost for the season. This was the case the prior two seasons.

If Barzal doesn’t make the team out of camp he will be sent down to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the AHL, and be just a phone call away.

The bad news is this flexibility could hurt Barzal’s chances on making the Islanders out of camp. That’s why Barzal has to show the Isles decision makers they have no choice but to have him start the year in the blue and orange.

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The Islanders have to do right by Barzal. If he is ready for the NHL, terrific. However, if he needs a little more seasoning in Bridgeport than that’s what they have to do.

Barzal is an exciting talent. He will be part of the Isles core for years to come. Hopefully, that starts on opening-night of the 2017-18 season.